PhD Studentship: Personalising Primary Care Prescribing: Developing & Evaluating Integrated Informatics to Embed Pharmacogenomics Information into Clinical Decision-making in Real-time

Published on: 12th May 2017


There has been a revolution in our understanding of the genomics of drug metabolism, but apart from the treatment of cancer, this understanding has not much influenced clinical practice despite tens of thousands of Tayside residents having been genotyped and despite almost all primary care prescribing being done electronically. Key challenges include: (1) Prescribing decisions are made very quickly in a time-pressured environment and both under- and over-alerting are known to pose safety risks; (2) Linking clinical data in real-time poses information governance and security problems. The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate an informatics tool to make useful pharmacogenomics information available at the point of primary care prescribing.

(This PhD Studentship is funded by the MRC)


The project will have three phases. First, to systematically review the evidence for licensed genetic tests relevant to drugs commonly used in UK primary care to determine frequency and severity of risks. Second, to use qualitative and Delphi or modified RAND consensus methods to determine how each genotype/drug combination should be handled in an alerting system and to develop the information that the informatics tool will deliver to the prescriber. Third, to work with clinicians and NHS IT to design, develop, deploy and evaluate a functional alerting system in NHS Tayside. Such a system has to have robust information governance and security, and deliver timely and clinically appropriate information that integrates with clinical workflows and effectively supports clinical decision-making. Evaluation will be both technical (the functionality and perceived utility of the system) and clinical (how do alerts influence prescribing decisions and is there any impact on clinical outcomes?). The project would suit someone from a computer science background who is interested in developing health services research skills and application development experience in the context of using data to support real-time clinical decision-making.


We have complementary skills across the translational spectrum from pharmacogenomics (Professor Colin Palmer) through informatics (Dr Emily Jefferson who is the Director of the Health Informatics Centre) to health services research (Professor Bruce Guthrie)

If you would like to discuss the project then please e-mail: 



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